Being a nurse is a good profession. I like the technical aspects of what I do; I like starting IVs. I love it when a patient says, “I didn’t even feel that.” I enjoy it when I can DO that act of nursing. The one thing I despise about being a nurse is the intangible arena of human interactions and the situations that are without remedy. Nurses see people at their absolute worst. If you are not in a helping profession, your “worst” imagine is not what I’m talking about. The “worst” for a social worker or medical person would make you writhe in awe.
This past week I met one of the many, many patients that stream through the hospital. I haven’t been able to stop thinking of this person since my eyes first saw the confused, delusional, unsettled eyes that looked through me as we met.
As I participated in the care of this patient, I realized and verbalized to the younger physician and nurses in the room with me, ”This person was just like us at one point—a job, “regular” living habits, deciding what to eat, when to eat, deciding how to live life—this person did all those things just like we do now.” It was a gut-wrenching revelation. It’s not the first time I’ve had it, but this week, that thought worked its way deeper into my heart than in previous times.
I came home and shared with Terry the details of my recent epiphany. As much as I have settled into my life and worked to achieve my plans—tomorrow may not look like today—the tomorrow I’ve planned and hoped for may never materialize. Psalm 90 records Moses’ dismal realization. People get 70 years, maybe 80, and those years are full of struggle and trouble.
Gee, thanks for the uplifting prayer!
Fortunately, Moses saw a benefit in that daily struggle.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (v. 12)
This patient remained on my mind all week. As I thought of the situation; pity, sorrow, fear, anger, and urgency have all welled up in my heart. Thirty years ago, this person was probably just like me—independent, strong, lucid and free. If you have elderly parents, you can identify with my angst. If you have watched your grandparents become frail and grow old, take a quiet moment with your thoughts and listen carefully—you can hear the clock ticking in the background.
I’ve heard the clock tick louder this week.
Don’t stop reading at verse 12. Join me and make Moses’ prayer your own today:
O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on your servants! Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. And may the Lord our God show us His approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! Psalm 90:13-17 (NLT)
Image courtesy of Bing.com/images